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Our Veterans

Our veterans are as diverse as the roles they perform during their service with the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The skills they gain during service equip them for highly successful careers after they transition into civilian life. Leaving the ADF is the start of the next stage in a veteran’s life and they have a lot to offer our nation and unique stories to tell.

DVA is pleased to bring you some of these stories in a series called Our Veterans.

  • Anthony, ex Royal Australian Navy Officer, wearing ski gear

    Anthony served in the Royal Australian Navy as a Maritime Warfare Officer for 5 years. He lived in Sydney for the majority of his time in the Navy and served on board HMA Ships Ballarat and Yarra. He also had the opportunity to move around Australia and take up other seagoing and shore postings in Darwin, Cairns and Perth.

  • The face of Brendan Hardman, a wheelchair basketballer.
    Brendan Hardman — finding a purpose

    Brendan Hardman is the Relationship Officer at the Hospital Research Foundation in Adelaide. He spent nearly eight years in the Australian Army as an artillery officer and deployed to Afghanistan. He thoroughly enjoys his job, and has come to terms with being medically discharged from the Army. But it wasn’t an easy process.

  • Colin Geoghegan

    Colin served in the Australian Army for 43 years before transitioning to civilian life this year.

  • Image of man smiling
    Damian Cantwell AM

    Damian Cantwell comes from an Army family. He is one of eight children, and remarkably he has four brothers who have served in the Army. His wife was also in the Army, as was one of his two children.

  • Darryl Mincham wearing a dark shirt and smiling at the camera.
    Darryl Mincham – Starting my own business

    As an Air Force veteran and business owner, Darryl Mincham has over the years developed a real passion for employing veterans.

  • Georgeina Whelan
    Georgeina Whelan AM CSC and Bar

    Georgeina joined the Army as a way to escape the western suburbs of Sydney and to broaden her horizons.

  • two smiling elderly men
    Glyn and Scotty Palmer

    Australian father and son Glyn and Scotty Palmer travelled to Timor-Leste together to take part in the 20th anniversary celebrations of the International Force East Timor (INTERFET) in September 2019. Both men had visited at important moments in the young nation’s history.

  • Holly Higgins in Australiam Army combat uniform
    Holly Higgins — finding the right path for you

    Holly Higgins served as a driver in the Royal Australian Corps of Transport as a lance corporal and was enlisted in the Australian Army for six years. Holly met her partner while she was serving, and is now the wife of a current serving member and mother of two young children.

  • Hugh Argyle Leitch
    Hugh Leitch – 101 years of Armistice

    ‘My grandfather Hugh enlisted into the AIF as a Lewis Machine Gunner on 14th November 1916. Sadly, this date is significant to our family as his cousin, Peter Leitch, was killed on the Western Front the very same day.’

  • Headshot of Jan-Maree Ball
    Jan-Maree Ball — find a community, and a purpose

    Jan-Maree Ball joined the RAAF at the age of 19, attracted by the work ethic shown by a group of trainee pilots she knew. Having been commissioned as an officer, she became an air traffic controller until after seven and a half years she transferred to the Navy. Another seven and a half years passed before she resigned from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in 1996, when she had twin sons.

  • Karen Cahill with long hair and fringe and wearing a blue emergency medical dispatcher uniform.
    Karen Cahill

    Growing up in Townsville, Karen Cahill often watched the Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters flying over the city. She knew then it was something she wanted to be a part of.

  • Mick Coad wearing uniform standing in front of a vehicle
    Mick Coad

    Mick Coad served in the military for 27 years. He joined through the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1989 and, after graduating, went on to become a Seaman Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Mick served on a number of ships and was based out of Sydney, Cairns, Perth and Darwin throughout his Navy career.

  • The face of Nev Cook, Nev is wearing a white uniform
    Nev Cook

    Nev Cook's Navy career spans more than 32 years, after he served as both a Sailor and an Officer in the the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy.

  • Noel McLaughlin keeps giving

    Born in 1947, Noel McLaughlin and his family emigrated from Ireland to Australia in 1958.

  • smiling veteran
    Our Veterans – Ron Barrie

    At the age of 17, Charles Ronald Barrie (Ron) joined the wartime Royal Australian Navy in 1945. He was mobilised and drafted to the Australian minesweeper (commonly known as a corvette) HMAS Katoomba as a Supply Assistant

  • The face of veteran Penelope Twemlow
    Penelope Twemlow – back yourself

    Penelope Twemlow served for more than 10 years in the Royal Australian Navy, first as a Warfare Officer, then transitioning to become a Naval Police Coxswain Officer. When it came time for Penelope to transition out of the Navy, she found it was hard to secure a position outside of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

  • Headshot of Rebecca Gauci, smiling, wearing a checkered shirt and grey knit jumper.
    Rebecca Gauci

    Rebecca spent four years with the Royal Australian Navy as a Maritime Logistics Support Operations Sailor at HMAS Watson and HMAS Kuttabul, which included two years at sea. She then made the difficult decision to transition to civilian life and focus on developing a career in office administration.

  • Richard Cranna the National Chairman for Legacy Australia
    Richard (Rick) Cranna — National Chairman of Legacy Australia

    In Legacy Week we are pleased to feature the story of Richard (Rick) Cranna, Chairman of Legacy Australia and a Legatee for nearly 50 years.

  • Roy Henry

    Roy was born into a military family in New Zealand and, after moving to Australia with his family, joined the Australian Army.

  • The face of Steve, a Trades Training Maintenance Coordinator
    Steve — reach out to your Transition Coach

    Steve was a Lance Corporal who served in the Army for more than 10 years. He worked as a Fitter Armourer within the Royal Australian Electrical Mechanical Engineers before leaving the ADF in 2018.

  • A man wearing an Australian Army camouflage bonnie hat and sunglasses
    Tim Loch — invest in your lifestyle

    To kick off this year’s Veterans Health Week, we bring you the story of Timothy (Tim) Loch, a former Corporal who joined the Australian Army as a Combat Engineer in 2004, at just 17 years of age. Tim left the ADF after 10 years and is still an active reservist while working full time as a Community and Peer Advisor with Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling.

  • Headshot of Troy Lines in Australian Army camouflage combat uniform and boonie hat with desert in the background
    Troy Lines — knowledge is power

    Troy Lines served more than 20 years in the Australian Army, first in the Infantry before discharging for a few years then re-enlisting in the Armoured Corps. After initially finding it difficult to transition, Troy now has a new career in the transport industry and is living his best life while still using some of the skills he acquired during his time in the Army.